Meghalaya Govt's Notices to Harijan Colony Sikhs Gives Way to Political Upheaval
With the Meghalaya government issuing notices to the residents of the Sikh Harijan Colony of Shillong’s Bara Bazar area, the longstanding dispute over their relocation has come into the spotlight yet again. Sikh political and religious forces from outside the state have offered overwhelming support to the occupants.
The armed outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) had recently threatened to take action against Sikh residents of the colony. Alleging that the colony’s residents were ‘illegal migrants’, they demanded that they therefore must vacate the area.
Several of the families living in the Harijan Colony are said to have arrived to Shillong more than 150 years ago.
Reports on local news outlets say state police have been beefing up security in the area since June 12.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) old ally, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), had asked for the immediate intervention of Union home minister Amit Shah in the matter. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) then sought a copy of the order based on which the ‘showcause’ notices asking residents to prove their legality had been pasted on nearly 300 dwellings by Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) on May 31.
On June 14, Meghalaya government chief secretary P.S. Thangkhiew held a meeting with MHA officials and submitted his report on the matter.